Cavs' Larry Nance Jr. Talks About NBA's Return Amid COVID-19: 'I'm Still Scared'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2020

Cleveland Cavaliers' Larry Nance Jr. (22) passes against Denver Nuggets' Will Barton (5) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. has Crohn's disease and is on immunosuppressive drugs as a part of his treatment plan. He said Monday that he is worried about being more vulnerable to COVID-19 should the NBA resume its season, and that other players in a similar situation might have those same concerns. 

"We're young, and you know the kind of shape players are in, you'd like to think [the virus] wouldn't be what it could be for others. But you don't know," he said, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN. "I'm still scared and don't want to get it."

Nance added: "I would hope there would be an understanding [from the league] if someone didn't feel comfortable coming back that'd you get a pass. Just because you may look like the picture of health, some people have issues you can't see."

Nance did report to the team's facilities over the past two weeks to get in individual workouts and is feeling less concerned about the coronavirus than he did in the past. Windhorst reported that Nance has "consulted various gastrointestinal specialists" and learned that the "drug he's been on for the last 10 years via periodic IV infusions has shown to be helpful in fighting off the infection for some with his condition."

But it's unlikely that Nance will be the only NBA player with concerns if play does resume, especially since a number of players—including Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Kevin Durant, Marcus Smart and Christian Wood—already tested positive for the coronavirus.

For now, the NBA remains on hiatus. It's unclear how long the league will remain in that state. If or when the games do return, they will almost certainly come without fans in attendance, with no vaccine for the coronavirus yet developed and many states instituting either stay-at-home or social distancing guidelines that do not permit large social gatherings. 

To date, there have been over 1.4 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, per CNN.com, with 89,636 deaths. But sports are starting to return around the globe. Both Germany's soccer league, the Bundesliga, and NASCAR returned this weekend. 

"I'm paying super close attention to everything that is going on," Nance said. "I was watching the German soccer league over the weekend and seeing how the players were interacting with each other and still seeing them make a lot of contact. I can't even imagine being on one of those calls trying to hash this out. There's so many ways to spread this."